Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Tour (Audiobook Review & Giveaway): The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

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Title: The Typewriter Girl
Alison Atlee
Publisher: Audible Studios
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours
Audible Release Date:
April 4, 2014


When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched. Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her. But her life is about to change. . . Because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideal tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company. After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love ...

My Review

I jumped at the chance to review The Typewriter Girl when it was presented because I've not done a lot of blog tours for audiobooks. (They're my favorite way to sneak in my personal reading choices.) I was also drawn to these two words: "Victorian England". I haven't read a lot of books set in that time period, but most of what I have read revolves around royalty. Or were written by Marion Chesney, but that's neither here nor there. So I took on The Typewriter Girl to expand my reading horizons from the comfort of my car.

I would almost say that I was surprised by the book, but I didn't know what to expect. When I read historical novels from the Victorian period, it doesn't focus on the social imbalance that was so pervasive at that time. I'm an escapist reader, so I don't gravitate toward books that make me think. The Typewriter Girl really brings the social inequity between women and men to the forefront. Betsey has to work her ass off to barely make ends meet because her job is seen by her employers as an outlet for her to snag a husband, not to really support herself. And being as Betsey is not a virgin, she is considered "ruined" and has nearly no options. At her job, it is rumored that she had an affair with a man where she went to school, so that made sexual harrassment okay. I'm almost ashamed of myself for taking the time period and society that I live in for granted because I most certainly am a ruined woman myself.

The fact that The Typewriter Girl made me think and remember how far humanity has come (in certain parts of the world), but that didn't really help me like the characters. Betsey was spunky and a bit of a bitch, but I never really rooted for her. I always expected myself to suddenly feel something for her other than sympathy for living in that time, but it never came. John Jones was a self-made man (and the love interest, of course), but he really wasn't much better than some of the other men in the novel. He never realized his sexual attraction to Betsey until he found out about her past. None of the secondary characters jumped out at me either, and I didn't cry when one of them died.

I will say that I was surprised when I found out that Idensea was not a real place. As events in The Typewriter Girl unfolded, I wanted to do some research on the town and the pier company. I was nothing short of flabbergasted to see that every search for "Idensea" sent me back to reviews or blog posts about The Typewriter Girl. I applaud Atlee with her world-building because I never would have guessed. I mean, I'm sure she based it on some real places and events, but I was fooled.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed The Typewriter Girl a great deal more if I would have had more feelings for the characters, but I am appreciative of the insight that I was given to that time period. If you're a lover of things historical dealing with the poor and middle class, you should give The Typewriter Girl a try.

- 3/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

About the Author

Alison Atlee Spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Mina’s Bookshelf
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 5
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews (Print)
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, August 7
Book Blast at Mari Reads
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, August 8
Book Blast at Book Blast Central

Saturday, August 9
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, August 10
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, August 11
Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, August 13
Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book)
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 14
Review at A Bookish Affair (Print)
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, August 15
Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book)
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Saturday, August 16
Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Sunday, August 17
Interview at Closed the Cover

Monday, August 18
Review at The Maiden’s Court (Audio Book)

Tuesday, August 19
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Always with a Book

Wednesday, August 20
Book Blast at Literary, Etc.

Thursday, August 21
Review at Books in the Burbs (Print)
Book Blast at Bibliotica

Friday, August 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)

Saturday, August 23
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews

Sunday, August 24
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, August 28
Review at Luxury Reading (Print)
Review at The True Book Addict (Audio Book)
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print)

Friday, August 29
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Enter to win the following:

  • One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
  • Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
  • A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
  • A vintage style postcard "from" Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
  • A "dream wildly" ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on August 29th. You by must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and Notified via email.
  • Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing That I received an advance digital copy of the novel from the publisher thru Historical Fiction Blog Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Tour (Giveaway): Storms of Lazarus by Karen Kincy


Storms of Lazarus Tour Schedule

Welcome to my spot on the Storms of Lazarus blog tour! I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Shadows of Asphodel, so I'm excited to share the sequel with you today. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of my post! And don't forget to go check out the other stops on the tour!

Title: Storms of Lazarus (Shadows of Asphodel #2)
Karen Kincy
Publisher: Self
Tour Organizer: CBB Book Promotions
Release Date: July 13, 2014

Sometimes escape is impossible. Sometimes love isn’t enough.

1913. Christmas Eve. Ardis hardly expects a quiet holiday with Wendel, between fleeing Constantinople and hiding from an ancient society of assassins. And they owe a debt to a certain archmage.

In K√∂nigsberg, Prussia, they work with Konstantin on the next evolution of Project Lazarus. Wendel once called K√∂nigsberg home, the city now besieged by the Russians and their clockwork engines of war. This may be Wendel’s last chance to save his family and find redemption, but he’s tormented by nightmares and tempted by laudanum. Ardis fears her love isn’t enough to save Wendel. Her hands are full piloting the automatons, and she’s terrified to tell him a secret of her own. Will they—and their love—survive the storms of war?

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Other Books in the Series

Title: Shadows of Asphodel
Author: Karen Kincy
Publisher: Self
Release Date: September 13, 2013

When Ardis discovers a man bleeding to death on the battlefield, she knows she has to walk away.

1913. In her work as a mercenary for Austria-Hungary, Ardis has killed many men without hesitation. One more man shouldn’t matter, even if he manages to be a charming bastard while he stands dying in the snow.

But when he raises the dead to fight for him, she realizes she must save his life.

If a necromancer like Wendel dies, he will return as a monster—or so the rumors say. Ardis decides to play it safe and rescues him. What she doesn’t expect is Wendel falling to one knee and swearing fealty. Ardis never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer, but it’s too late now.

Ardis and Wendel forge an uneasy alliance underscored with sexual tension. Together, they confront rebels, assassins, and a conspiracy involving a military secret: robotically-enhanced soldiers for a world on the brink of war. But as Ardis starts to fall for Wendel, she realizes the scars from his past run more deeply than she ever imagined. Can Ardis stop Wendel before his thirst for revenge destroys him and everyone else around him?

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can read my review of Shadows of Asphodel HERE!

About the Author

Karen Kincy (Redmond, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Find Karen Online
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends at 12:01 EST on August 27th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blog Tour (Guest Post): Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly

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Title: Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady
Sally O'Reilly
Publisher: Picador (Macmillan)
Release Date: May 27, 2014


The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth’s royal court. The Queen’s favorite, she develops a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and quick tongue. Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, but her position is precarious. Then she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair.

A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her young son Henry takes ill, Aemilia resolves to do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will—or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself.

In rich, vivid detail, Sally O’Reilly breathes life into England’s first female poet, a mysterious woman nearly forgotten by history. Full of passion and devilish schemes, Dark Aemilia is a tale worthy of the Bard.

Selected by O, The Oprah Magazine as one of 17 Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down!

Praise for Dark Aemilia

“A gripping novel that gives feisty feminist voice to the unknown woman who inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets… O’Reilly brings her star-crossed lovers together and drives them apart through plot twists that are, for once, credible outgrowths of the characters’ personalities and beliefs, finally giving them a tender, heartbreaking parting. First-rate historical fiction: marvelously atmospheric and emotionally engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[Dark Aemilia] mesmerizes with its descriptions of the Bard’s London…O’Reilly casts her story with witches, doomed royals, evil courtiers, and star-crossed lovers, as if it were a Jacobean play. But her finest accomplishment is not the tribute she pays to these historical figures, but the bold imagination she displays in bringing them together.” — Publishers Weekly

“With elegant style, masterly wordplay, and an eye for historical detail, O’Reilly beautifully relates a passionate and tragic love story, worthy of two such well-known figures. With Shakespeare’s 450th birthday approaching this April, fans of historical fiction writers such as Philippa Gregory, Anne Easter Smith, and Tracy Chevalier won’t want to miss this one.” — Library Journal

“O’Reilly’s American debut is an imaginative take on the life of poet Aemilia Layner, a contemporary of William Shakespeare…. This is a lively, vividly rendered novel about the dramatic life of an extraordinary woman.” — Booklist

“Seductive, sharp-witted lady-in-waiting Aemilia Bassano, who later becomes known as England’s first published female poet, falls into a love affair with the Bard himself, loses favor with the court, and resorts to black magic and sorcery to save her child in this textured work of historical fiction.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“I just finished this, and I’m jumping at this opportunity to recommend it to book lovers far and wide... Dark Aemilia is a must-read for all lovers of Shakespeare and old England, and while it is written from the perspective of a woman, I am confident men will enjoy it, too. I am usually careful with my books, but this one quickly became a victim of dog ears and pencil-marks, because O’Reilly touches on so many crucial historical moments and writes with such intelligent elegance.” — Anne Fortier, BookPage

“We all know Shakespeare wrote love sonnets. Now, O’Reilly’s new novel brings us the Bard’s sonnet-writing lover and sonnet-inspiring muse.” — The New York Post

“Draped in the lure of magic and fantasy that weaved its way through many of Shakespeare’s plays, Dark Aemilia lives and breathes the late 16th century... O’Reilly’s debut novel is a sweeping success, a tale full of action and intrigue and as deep as any ocean. Live vicariously through the eyes of one of the first proto-feminists to have lived. See as the author steps into her head and creates a world that is more realistic than the one outside your window. Let this book redefine the way you see love.” — Bookreporter

Guest Post

Dark Aemilia and my Favourite Discoveries
Sally O’Reilly

Dark Aemilia is my first historical novel, though I have written contemporary fiction already. I thought the research element might be quite daunting, but I was surprised to find that I loved it. I found this process a bit like equipping myself to pass through a portal into the past – finding the right clothes, the right words and the right physical sensations to be able to move through the streets of London four hundred years ago.

Waiting on Wednesday (68): The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1)
Kameron Hurley
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 4, 2014

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

Epic fantasy written by a woman! Woohoo! Honesty, I don't need another reason to want to read this. But, it's also being published by Angry Robot. I loved their YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, which was sadly discontinued this summer. If the Angry Robot books are anything like their YA counterparts, I know I'll enjoy this one.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clear Your Shelf #Giveaway Hop #5 (US)

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Welcome to my stop on the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop hosted by the wonderful Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mary at BookHounds. I was lucky enough to attend ALA back in June, as some of my readers may already know, and I ended a lot of books. I've given several to fellow bloggers, coworkers in youth services, and friends. Anywho, I need to start moving out some books to make room for my new ones that I need to review. There will be giveaways of ALA stuff in the future, so don't worry if you don't win this time.

What You Can Win

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?


Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

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Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty.

But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude.

Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel's glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence . . . and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess's petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Debut author Amy Ewing expertly crafts an enchanting story full of riches, rivalries, and riveting twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

My Review

A lot was promised of Amy Ewing's debut novel, The Jewel. It has been compared to The Handmaid's Tale and The Selection, both of which I love. Hell, it even started out strong with a heroine who saw the gross unfairness and horror of the system, yet did not lose herself while surviving. She even fought against it when she could. However, despite all the promise The Jewel held and how good the first half was, it ended up being the biggest disappointment to me so far in 2014.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Kayla Reviewed That I Need to Read


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Ten Books That Kayla Reviewed That I Need to Read

I'm going to do something a little different this week. If someone I know and trust recommends a book to me, I'll normally read it almost immediately if I can get my hands on it. So I don't really have a lot of book recommendations sitting around that I need to read. However, Kayla has been reviewing for quite a while and has an abundant amount of books that she rated highly. I've made my way through some of them, and this is a list of some of the books I need to read sooner rather than later.

1. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
October 14, 2014

I am loving this science fiction fairy tale retellings trend. Snow White and a frozen planet - I'm sold. You can read Kayla's review HERE.

2. Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1) by Caroline Carlson and Dave Phillips

Cute adventure fantasy with a girl and a talking gargoyle wanting to become pirates. Of course I want to read this. Kayla recommended the audio version, so I jumped on the chance when Audible had a children's family sale. You can read Kayla's review HERE.